CAMBRIDGE — Nearly 50 people gathered at Cambridge’s sole traffic light Thursday afternoon to mark International Women’s Day with a march and celebration.
Women and men of a variety of ages walked along East Main Street from the intersection to the village firehouse and back to the Round House Bakery Cafe, where chocolate cake and beverages were waiting.
Many people carried red and blue signs reading “International Women’s Day: Celebrate Acts of Courage and Determination.” Others supported equal rights, Planned Parenthood and the right to vote, or protested assault weapons.
Village resident M. Wilcox carried a sign that said, “I’m old, I’m fat, I’m queer, I’m a woman, and I have value in the world.”
Wilcox described herself as something of a recluse.
“I don’t make it out to many women’s marches and this was right in my backyard,” she said. “Queer people aren’t very visible here.”
Donna Orlyk, of Salem, asked people to sign the back of her sign, which read, “We are better together.”
“When a group of people decides on a purpose they want to pursue, they can make it happen,” she said.
Sylvana Maione, who lives in the village, was one of two people wearing “pink pussy” hats. She had knit several and had brought one to give away.
Maione said she came to the march because “I’m really enthusiastic about the excitement around International Women’s Day.”
“The point was to gather the people, not just the women, and show our solemn support for women and girls worldwide who are suffering,” said Nancy Krauss, a Jackson resident who organized the march. “I wanted to build a grassroots movement in our town.”
Krauss said she began planning the event around two weeks ago. She came up with the text for the International Women’s Day signs, and local artist Sara Kelly did the graphic design.
Krauss and friends posted flyers for the march in Cambridge and other villages within 15 miles, but also spread the word electronically.
“I couldn’t do it without social networking. That made it all possible,” Krauss said.
She said she was “thrilled by the turnout” on a snowy afternoon and pleased by the support of passing motorists.
“I want to encourage young people, especially young women, to be activists,” Krauss said. “I think women are ready to have their voices be heard in these small towns.”